If you’re familiar with our site, you know that we scan a wide range of media to find issues to bring you to discuss. That includes issues that are underreported. But the point is that we look for your opinions. This article is a little different. First, we’re quoting ourselves, not other media. And second, we’re proposing our own solution for you to discuss.
The issue is what to do about North Korea. We wrote during the presidential campaign, back in April 2016, that Donald Trump has been so outspoken against North Korea that he would be able to reach out to Kim Jong Un without raising anxiety at home—in the way that anti-Communist Richard Nixon was able to “open” China to the outside world. At that time, Trump said he would happily invite Kim to visit Washington to discuss issues, even if there were only a 10% chance of progress. Talking. What a concept! Of course, that was 22 months ago. . .
In April 2017, we discussed how important it is to learn from history—and that words matter. At that time, Trump told Korea that we had an “Armada” headed his way. Never mind that that “Armada” was thousands of miles away from Korea—heading in the opposite direction. The point was that, historically, it echoed the “Spanish Armada,” which was sent to “punish” England, and it was destroyed by the more agile smaller ships of the English fleet—largely responsible for beginning the collapse of the Spanish Empire.
In May, we noted that Trump was saying both that he is willing to make a pre-emptive strike on North Korea (nothing like announcing it in advance!), and again, that he was willing to talk to Kim.
Also in July, we pointed out that North Korea is not China’s problem, and it’s unrealistic for us to expect them to turn against their neighbor-ally, in exactly the same way as we couldn’t be expected to turn against our neighbor-ally, Canada.
That led us to a two-part article in August 2017, in which experts said for all the bluster, Trump’s actions have been exactly the same as Barack Obama’s. But we also offered our own suggestion, that we should expand trade with North Korea, pointing out the “Golden Arches Theory,” the old adage that no two countries with McDonald’s go to war with each other.
Our article also explained how we got to where we are now. The problem began with an attack by North Korea on the South, hoping to reunite the country. But in a stroke of US luck, the Soviet Union had walked out of the United Nations in protest of an unrelated issue—and Taiwan occupied the “China” seat at that time. That allowed us to get the Security Council to authorize UN troops to invade the North.
The war was almost over, when China decided to send in thousands of its own troops on the side of the North. UN (not US) troops were forced back to the South. Note that while the US had supplied most of the troops, it was not a US war. It was a United Nations action. Unfortunately, the UN never signed a peace treaty after that armistice, so the entire world is still legally at war with North Korea. And you wonder why they’re paranoid?
For more than 60 years, North Korean leaders have wondered if the incomplete war would heat up again. And they carefully noted the “Nuke Rule,” (similar to the Golden Arches Theory)–no country with atomic weapons has been defeated—and countries such as Libya and Iraq, which give up their nuclear programs were, in fact, crushed. So in our article, we suggested that peace talks should begin between North Korea and the UN begin, to end the madness.
Today, we’re making a new suggestion, born out of the image of North and South Korea participating in the Olympics under the same flag—a new flag of the Korean Peninsula.
Maybe it’s time to get rid of the last vestige of the 1940s Cold War. The divided Vietnam united after our defeat in the 1970s, and since then, the US and Vietnam have become trading partners, and to some extent, Vietnam has tilted our way, out of fear of its giant neighbor, and sometime enemy, China.
Then, there’s the reunification of East and West Germany, which we like to think of as a victory of the west over the crumbling Soviet Union. And that leaves only Korea as a divided nation, and despite what we want, both North Koreans and South Koreans see each other as family—and when not talking to us, they both want reunification. A full 53.8% of South Koreans now feel that it’s “necessary,” with unification talks having taken place in 1971, 1988, 1991, and 2000.
The first time North and South Korea held talks since the 1950-53 Korean War was in 1971. They agreed on basic principles of the reunification. According to the July 4 South-North Joint Communique, reunification should be achieved through 1) independent efforts of the two Koreas, 2) peaceful means, and 3) the promotion of national unity transcending differences in ideologies and systems.
It has always seemed like an impossible dream, since China is afraid of having a capitalist North Korea on its border, and the US fears losing South Korea as our friendly foothold on east Asia. That seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. Despite what the Koreans want for themselves, the International Giants make the rules.
So here is our suggestion: How about mimicking China’s “One Country, Two Systems” approach? China is still somewhat Communist, but Hong Kong has been allowed to remain capitalist, long after the British left their former colony in 1997. Yes, there have been fears that China would renege, but after 20 years, tiny Hong Kong is still mostly autonomous.
Likewise, Taiwan is universally recognized as a part of China, since Richard Nixon’s 1972 agreement on “One China” policy. Yet, Taiwan has been allowed to pursue capitalism for almost a half-century, though the mainland could easily take over that tiny island, as well.
So why not?
Why not allow the two Koreas to negotiate a “One Korea, Two Systems” agreement for reunification, with an agreement to have autonomous “province” leaders in the north and the south?
China wouldn’t have to worry about having an enemy on its northern border; the United States wouldn’t lose a major ally and trading partner. In fact, China would gain a more friendly South Korea, and the US could gain a neutral North Korea, who would be in great need of trade. But most of all, North Korea would no longer feel that it has to be hostile toward the rest of the world, which is still, legally, today, in 2018, pledged to defeat the tiny country.